Marathon training : Mystery toe pain

Hmmm. I seem to be developing a new ‘injury’ – I use the word loosely – that I’ve not had before, and one that I’m having trouble pinpointing the cause, or remedy.

Recently I’ve developed pain in my second smallest toe on my right foot. Not thinking much of it I continued to run, and build up the miles as my marathon training went on. However, as the miles increased, so has the pain, until after a 10 mile run home from work on Wednesday I was in a lot of pain. Not enough to force me to abandon the run, but enough to make me nervous about how much it will be hurting after 26.2 miles in two weeks time.

As I said, I can’t really discern the cause. About 4 weeks ago I got a blister on my little toe, I assume from a rub point between my little toe and my second little toe, which with continued running has developed into something like a callous. This morning I had a good look at the area and manipulated my toes about to find the ‘ouch’ points. All I can determine is that:

– I have a callous on both toes that appear to be caused by rubbing together.
– The one on my second little toe is hard and white, almost like a corn.
– Together they appear to be right over the joint in the second toe.

When manipulating my toe around I was able to find ‘instant’ pain when prodding the inflamed area around the callous. Not surprising – it is red and inflamed.

However, and this is the bit that has me worried, when manipulating the toe I found the second joint of the toe to be sore, painful when pressed on the side. Shooting pain type sore.

I’m now wondering – could that innocuous blister-turned callous be pressing on the joint, and now I’ve inflamed it (or worse) due to the buildup in mileage?

Has anyone else had an issue like this and can share their experience and any remedies they may have?

For those who want some background info:
– I run in ASICS Gel Excel 33 2’s, and I’m on the second pair after running 500km pain-free in the first pair.
– I’ve got a slight heel strike which would appear to quickly transition to a mid foot force pattern. I have determined this from a RunBlogger post and article – Pete Larson describes exactly the same foot strike and wear pattern on his shoes that I experience – hardly scientific but it seems to fit.
– The pain is most prevalent when running marathon pace or slower. When doing tempo runs or speed work I don’t get the foot pain, though during speed work I’m a true mid-foot to forefoot striker.
– It’s only on my right foot, and I haven’t had a fall or other injury as a causative factor.

Here’s to hoping for a quick fix! Let me know if you have one.

Happy running everyone!


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Hi, I’m Bernie and I’m a just guy who writes about the things which get me going and get me running, even though my running is never going to result in me standing on a podium!

Posted on October 5, 2013, in Avoiding Injury, Blog, Injury Recovery, Miscellaneous and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I wish I could help you. It sounds almost like a corn to me. Maybe those corn pads to stop the irritation? Good luck. I hope you figure this out soon!!!

    • Thanks Tom. I’ll experiment with a corn pad tomorrow on my run. Hopefully just a case of relieving the pressure so healing can happen. I’ve got my fingers (and toes) crossed it will clear up soon.

  2. I wish I could help as well, perhaps wrapping it w/a light weight medical tape would help?

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